Professor Christopher Mathias has been Emeritus Professor at University College London since 2014. He was Professor of Neurovascular Medicine in the University of London, with an appointment held jointly between Imperial College London and the Institute of Neurology, University College London between 1991 and 2013. He has been an honorary Consultant Physician at St. Mary’s Hospital since 1982 and at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square since 1985. He also consults at the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth (HJE) in St. Johns Wood, London (since 2012).
He joined St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore University in 1965, and qualified with an MB BS in 1971. He won eight College Prizes in Anatomy, Pharmacology, Pathology & Microbiology, Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynaecology, and highest marks overall in the final year. He also was awarded seven Bangalore University Prizes, including for the highest marks in the final MBBS examination. This was followed in 1972 by the Government of Mysore State Award for Academic Distinction. In 1972 he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. He was at Worcester College (1972-1973) and then Wolfson College (1973-1976), as a Graduate Awardee. When in Oxford he began research on the autonomic nervous system with Dr. John Spalding in the Department of Neurology at the Churchill Hospital. Clinical research was performed also at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, working alongside Professor Hans Frankel. In 1976, Oxford University awarded him the Doctorate of Philosophy for research in humans on neurological and neurohormonal control of the cardiovascular system.
From 1976 to 1979 his clinical training continued at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London, and at St. Mary’s Hospital & the Southampton University Renal Unit, Portsmouth. In 1978, he completed his MRCP (UK). In 1979 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Clinical Science to work with Professor Sir Stanley Peart, FRS, at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, University of London. In 1984, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Lectureship in Medicine, held jointly between St. Mary’s and the Institute of Neurology, working with Professor Sir Stanley Peart and Sir Roger Bannister. In 1987 he was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, London (FRCP). In May 1991 the University of London conferred on him the title of Professor of Neurovascular Medicine, held between St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School and the Institute of Neurology, British Postgraduate Medical Federation, London. In 1995 he was awarded the Doctorate of Science (DSc) in the Faculty of Science at London University. In 2001 he was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci). In 2007 he was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by Lisboa University, Portugal.
He was Clinical Service and Research Director of two leading NHS and academic departments in London, the Pickering (Neurovascular Medicine) Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, and the Autonomic Unit at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square. These were tertiary referral centers serving the entire United Kingdom, also with international referrals. The centers were amalgamated in 2014, and are now based at Queen Square. He pioneered the creation of clinical autonomic scientists, developments in laboratory autonomic testing, and with autonomic nurses developed and streamlined autonomic diagnosis, investigation and treatment of many autonomic conditions. Autonomic patient episodes increased from circa 500 in 1985 to more than 5000. In 2014 he founded the Autonomic & Neurovascular Medicine Centre at the Hospital of St. John & St. Elizabeth, incorporating the latest techniques and with experienced autonomic personnel.
Over the decades he has worked alongside and directed scientists and clinicians researching the autonomic nervous system in health and disease. Autonomic disorders include fainting (autonomic mediated syncope) and especially cardiovascular problems (e.g. postural hypotension) in neurological (e.g. multiple system atrophy and Parkinson’s) and medical disorders (e.g. diabetes mellitus). The Units have made major advances in the recently recognized “new millennium” condition, the postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), and the multi-organ/inter-system cluster associated with the joint hypermobile form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Their clinical research output has earned recognition as unique centers for pioneering work in advancing knowledge and clinical translation in the autonomic field. From 2008 he held the highest level of NHS Clinical Excellence Award, a Platinum, awarded by the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA). Funding has been from many competitive and charitable sources, especially the Wellcome Trust. He has been fortunate in collaborating with outstanding clinicians and scientists within his institutions (Imperial College London and University College London), across the UK, and globally at leading centers in Europe (Bologna and Innsbruck), Australia (Adelaide) and Asia (Bangalore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo).
He has more than 400 publications in medical and scientific journals on the autonomic nervous system covering neurology, cardiovascular, basic science, and internal medicine. He has numerous invited reviews in major journals, and many chapters in international textbooks of neurological and cardiovascular medicine. He is Senior Co-Editor, with Sir Roger Bannister, of Autonomic Failure: a Textbook of Clinical Disorders of the Autonomic Nervous System, with the fifth edition published by Oxford University Press in June 2013.
In 1991 he founded Clinical Autonomic Research, the first medical journal dedicated to clinical autonomic neuroscience. This now is the official international journal of the American Autonomic Society, the Clinical Autonomic Research Society (of Great Britain), and the European Federation of Autonomic Societies. From 1991-1995 he was Foundation Editor-in-Chief, and from 1995 to 2013 was Co-editor in Chief of Clinical Autonomic Research. He referees clinical and scientific papers for many journals, is scientific referee to major grant-giving bodies in the UK and abroad, and has been on various editorial boards.
Major lectures he has delivered include: Prof. Ruitinga, University of Amsterdam (1988); Dr. J. Thomas Meml, St.John’s Medical College, Bangalore University (1988); Lord Florey Meml, University of Adelaide (1991); Dorothy Mortlock, University of Adelaide (1991); BP Regional, Royal College of Physicians London, at Leeds (1992); Sir Hugh Cairns Meml, Adelaide (1996); Nimmo, University of Adelaide (1996); Allan Birch Meml, London (1997); Abbie Meml, University of Adelaide (1999); College Day, Royal College of Physicians, London (2001); Sir Robert Menzies Meml Foundation, Sydney (2001); Dr. Paul Wahler Meml, London Jewish Medical Society, London (2002); Inaugural, Portuguese Autonomic Society, Lisbon (2002); Prof. Dr. Robert L. Muller Meml, University of Erlangen (2002); 4th Prof. Athasit Vejjajiva, Mahidol University, Bangkok (2003); Sir Roger Bannister, First Joint European Federation & American Autonomic Societies Congress, Amsterdam (2004); 3rd Prof. K. Srinivas, Chennai (2005); 7th Valsalva, Bologna (2006); Shri Gopalakrishna, Chennai (2006); Inaugural, Northern Communities Health Foundation, Adelaide (2007); Roche, Adelaide (2007); Chelsea Therapeutics, Vienna (2007); Inaugural, Swiss Autonomic Society, Bern (2008); First Dean Gerry Mascarenhas Meml Oration, Florida (2008); British Peripheral Nerve Society, London (2008); 19th World Congress of Neurology, Bangkok (2009); 12th European Federation of Autonomic Societies, Taormina (2011); Chelsea Therapeutics Lecture, EFAS Autonomic School, Lisbon (2011); European Federation of Neurological Societies, Stockholm (2012); American Rheumatological Congress, Washington (2012); Hong Kong Neurological Society, Hong Kong (2012); Royal Society of Medicine, London (2013); Plenary Lecture, Joint International Society of Autonomic Neuroscience & European Federation of Autonomic Societies, Giessen, Germany (2013); ECN Mastocytosis, London (2013); Autonomic Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease, Venice (2014); Austrian Neurological Society, Salzburg (2014); The Hot Topic Symposium, Royal College of Physicians, London (2014); 8th World Congress of NeuroRehabilitation, Istanbul (2014), Ehlers Danlos Patient Awareness Day, London (2014), Hypermobility Syndromes Association, Burton-on Trent (2014), Plenary Lecture, European Federation of Autonomic Societies, Malaga (2014), Streeten Lecture, American Autonomic Society, Puerto Rico (2014), Conclave Lectures, NIMHANS, Bangalore (2015), 35th TS Srinivasan Gold Medal Award and Endowment Oration, Chennai (2015), Dizziness Course, Institute of Child Health & Queen Square (2015), Inaugural Congress, European Academy of Neurology, Berlin (2015), International Congress, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Birmingham, (2015), 7th British Obesity & Metabolic Surgical Society, Cardiff (2016), Royal Society of Medicine, London (2016); International Lyme Disease Symposium, London (2016); 13th Annual HJE Symposium, RCP, London (2016); 5th Finapres Blood Pressure Symposium, RSM London (2016); Advanced Medicine Symposium, Royal College of Physicians, London (2017); Epilepsy: Tracking & Managing the Brainstorm, Chennai (2017); Global Neurosciences Lecture, Chennai (2017); Moving Forward Together Conference, Parkinson Society British Columbia (2017); 21st International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders, Vancouver (2017); Third Congress of the European Academy of Neurology, Amsterdam (2017); Clinical Immunology Update 2017/UK-Sri Lanka Immunology Foundation, Colombo (2017); 50th Anniversary Meeting, Ceylon College of Physicians, Colombo, Sri Lanka (2017); Festchrift for Professor B. Lang, Neuro-Immunology Symposium, Oxford (2017); and Autonomic Dysfunction in Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes UK, London (2018). He was one of the key speakers at the 25th Anniversary of the Syncope Trust (STARS) at the House of Commons, Westminster, London, and at the Celebration of the Life of Sir Roger Bannister, at the Royal College of Physicians, London (2018). Named lectures delivered in 2019 include the Kamla BK Anand Oration at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and the Inaugural Sir Roger Bannister Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine, London.
He has been Visiting Professor on most continents, to include being Prof. Ruitinga Visiting Prof., University of Amsterdam (1988); Nimmo Visiting Prof., University of Adelaide (1996); Visiting Prof; University of Hawaii in Honolulu (1999); Inaugural Northern Communities Health Foundation Visiting Prof. in Adelaide, South Australia (2007); and Visiting Prof, TGWH, University of Hong Kong (2008).
He has served on many national and international committees. He was a founding member of the Clinical Autonomic Research Society of Great Britain (Secretary, 1982-1986, Chairman, 1987-1990). He was a member of the Ethics Committees, St. Mary’s and National Hospital; NW Thames Regional Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards (1999-2001); international review committee of Danish National Research Foundation; Joint European Space Agency/NASA Neuroscience Review panel, Washington, DC; and the Scientific Committee of the International Spinal Research Trust (1996-2008). He was Chairman of the Dr. P. M. Shankland (Pushpa Chopra) Charitable Trust Prize Fund, Royal College of Physicians, London (1999-2003); member of the Research Group on Autonomic Disorders, World Federation of Neurology; and Scientific Panel on the Autonomic Nervous System, European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS). He was on the Board of Directors, American Autonomic Society (1996-2004). He is Patron (and co-founder) Sarah Matheson Trust (1996-2010), now Multiple System Atrophy Trust (since 2010); the Syncope and Reflex Anoxic Seizures (STARS) Trust (since 2001); and the Graham Hughes International Charity for Hughes (Antiphospholipid) Syndrome (since 2017).
He was Foundation President of the European Federation of Autonomic Societies (1998 to 2004). He has served on international task forces (EFNS, American Spinal Injuries Association) and on consensus groups (such as the American Autonomic Society 1996 and American Academy of Neurology, Boston 2007). He was on the Board of Governors, National Society for Epilepsy (2004-2008). He was Chairman of the Special Interest Group on Autonomic Neurorehabilitation of the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation (2004-2014). He has served on the Secretary of State for Transport DVLA Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Neurological Disorders (2004-2009). He was a Non-Executive Director of the West London Mental Health Trust (2008-2010). He was a Trustee of Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research (2017-2019).
He is a founder trustee of the Autonomic Charitable Trust (ACT) with (the late) Sir Roger Bannister and (the late) Mr. Philip Blissett; fellow trustees are Mrs. Camilla Woodward, Sir Richard Lambert, Baroness Susan Masham, Professor Rodney Grahame and Mr. Andrew Stanley; the patron is Professor Lord Ara Darzi. He has been Chair of the Autonomic Group of the Ehlers-Danlos International Consortium, The Ehlers-Danlos Society from 2018.